The British Council in Pakistan and Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan has recently launched a joint programme Pak-UK Education Gateway at Higher Education Commission (HEC) Secretariat in Islamabad, which aims to enhance partnership between the higher education sectors of Pakistan and the UK.
Pak-UK Education Gateway key areas of collaboration under this umbrella framework are: innovative and collaborative research, higher education leadership, quality assurance and standard setting, distance learning, international mobility and transnational education.
Pak-UK Education Gateway builds on existing collaborations between the UK and Pakistan that the British Council and Higher Education Commission has facilitated over last fifteen years from knowledge exchange and leadership development programmes, to student and teacher training, scholarships and research collaborations.
This programme will support the ambitions set by the HEC in Vision 2025, the document charting out targets for the upcoming years increase gross HE enrolment by 15 per cent, PhD faculty by 40 per cent, the number of universities to 300 and a total enrolment to 7.1 million.
The British Council in collaboration with the HEC has so far facilitated partnerships between 160 Pakistani universities and 65 UK institutions, including 160 research links involving over 1000 researchers from both countries contributing to sustainable development goals and institutional capacity building.
In 2018, British Council and HEC organized six roundtables in London, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Bath, Belfast and Cardiff from January to August, which were very well attended by the UK higher education sector.
The delegation from Pakistan interacted with more than 100 UK Higher Education representatives from 40 institutions and UK bodies.
The positive response from both sectors demonstrates willingness to develop long term strategic relationships between these two countries.
The programme also features additional investment of £1 million for funding research and partnership grants; the development of a research excellence framework; building the capacity of Pakistan’s research and doctoral base.
The minister said Pakistan needs to start marvelous efforts for improving the quality of education and ensuring the significance of the higher education sector.
HEC Chairman Dr Tariq Banuri said Pakistan and the UK have developed an outstanding academic relationship. “It is a brilliant start,” he said, stressing the need for a bilateral academic relationship that will help Pakistan build up its universities.
Pakistani varsities needs to prepare aspirants for future challenges and work on improving the methodology of imparting knowledge, as the knowledge-base of the future will be different to what it is now.